Monday, June 26, 2006

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell 6-27-06

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell 6-27-06
We had moisture!! I hope everyone remembered to thank the Good Lord for the rain. It bothers me to hear people say it was not enough to help. I think any thing beats the hot wind and dry air. We had 3 nice showers and it gave us a little over 3 inches in the past two weeks. I am certainly grateful.
Yesterday when we came home from Woodward I noticed that Billy- Mom’s dog- was all muddy and Mutt looked extra tired and the two Danes were out of the back yard. The Danes had lifted the back gate off its hinges and since the gate was tied at the opening it was hanging all whopper-jawed. I was wondering what mischief they had been up to. This morning I found out- I have never seen one of these up close-but by the look of Billy he got a real good look. Anyway, by the horse tank there laid a very dead beaver. You maybe wondering why a beaver was this close to the house -I would like to know that as well. I have no ponds close or running water, except for the water that runs over the tank. And I do not think that it is enough water to make a beaver think he could have a nice home and raise a family. But maybe he was an underachiever, whatever the reason it was not a good one. I am sure that the beaver came to our house, because if the dogs ventured out and brought him home he would have been at the front door instead of leaving him by the tank. And I am not sure if they could have carried him as he looked like he weighed quite a bit. I found him interesting looking with that big flat tail and those large front teeth and those very sharp claws. I do not how the dogs got him without serious injury. When I first saw him I thought that it was a coon, then I thought that it was a porcupine I would have never guessed it was a beaver. Things like this make me realize how much I miss Dad. He would have been amused and enjoyed looking over this strange creature that God had made. When we would ride out in the pastures he would always comment how God had a beautiful paint brush and imagination. He liked the wildflowers and the birds especially.
Thinking of the beavers- I had a neighbor once who declared war on the beavers and blew up their dams. It was an ongoing battle. The neighbor won a a lot of battles but I am afraid that he lost the war as where he used to try to keep the beavers out they are back and building one dam after the other. But at the Blundell household the score is Blundells 1- Beavers 0.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell 6-20-06

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell 6-20-06
It makes you wonder how dogs have survived as long as they have. My dogs seem to be --delicate-- sensitive -- allergy ridden--. Most of you know that I am in the process of raising Great Danes dogs. I am not convinced that pure bred dogs are as healthy as a plain ol’ mutt. I think that it must be the money. As I was growing up we had just plain ol’ dogs who seem to get along just fine- Well, that is not entirely true. I think that since they were either strays or give a ways and we always knew there were more where they come from. We did lose many dogs but I remember my growing up years by what dog we had. We did have a few pure-bred dogs we had a cocker spaniel, rat terrier, and border collies. Dad had a habit of naming any animal we had after the people that we got them from unless we could come up with a better name. Sometimes we named them by the way they were colored or marked- like Dottie, Blackie, Bobbi- we had one solid black border collie that Dad named- but because that name is something we do not say anymore as it is offensive to a particular group of people.
We had several cows that Dad had bought from Homer Reynolds and we called all of them Homer.
My earliest memory of a dog was a little rat terrier. We got her from Boz Richardson- we named her Pinkie because you could see her pink skin through her hair. We lost her when she came home with three punctures in her sides- we guessed it was a hawk or other predatory bird. I was heart-broken when she died. I had my singing debut the first and only time I sang at a funeral. The funeral was attended by only Dad and I. Dad dug a hole to bury her and put her little body in a wheel barrow and I followed behind singing ‘Where Oh Where has my Little Dog Gone’. I sang and Dad and I both cried as he plopped her in the hole and covered her up. That was my first experience with death that I remember. I have always felt that it is good for kids to have pets so they can have some idea of death. I would hate to think that the first time I knew of a fatality would have been a dear friend or a family member.
We had one dog that took up with the milk cow and preferred her company to ours. He would go out every morning and come in every evening with her, and he slept right by the cow in the barn every night until one fateful day he did not come in one evening.
We had several dogs that met their demise by chasing cars and trucks. We had a wonderful border collie named Happy who got ran over the County Gravel truck. I think that is was John Black who was the driver and he stopped and told us he was so sorry. We felt bad that he felt bad. It was a sad day, but if dogs insist on chasing vehicles it is more than likely that is what is going to happen. We lost a couple of dogs that way.
But the dog I grew up with was a little mutt Vickie brought home to me. I named him Snoopy- he lived until after I left home. He survived many difficulties- He chased and killed chickens which was and still is, a bad, bad thing for a farm dog to do. My brother Virgil and my cousin, Johnny caught him in the act of killing a hen they spanked him and threw him over the fence and broke his leg. Mom, Dad and I were not at home at the time. Virgil felt so awful about hurting the little chicken killer that they gave up their evening to take Snoop to Doc Allen and had his leg set. It was not long until Snoopy pulled the cast off and he healed up just fine, anyway- Ok so - he might have healed at little crooked but it never seemed to bother him. But he never chased another chicken again.
Dad got a dog from Carl Keesee it was a black lab cross. Dad ran over him with the pick up and horse trailer. If that was not bad enough the trailer was loaded with cattle at the time. It should have killed him but he lived-without a Vet bill. However, life was not the same for Blackie.
Years ago our dogs were lucky if they got vaccinated for rabies. Now we worry about every lump or bump they get. My dogs have gone to the Vet as much or more often than my kids went to the Doctor. I don’t know about you but maybe life really has gone to the dogs.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell 6-13-06

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell 6-13-06
On Sunday, June 11, I have hit another mile stone. I had my 47th birthday. It depends on where you are in life. If you are over 47 it is no big deal if you are a child, you might think that I am ancient. I never thought that I would survive my teenage years let alone my forties. But I can tell that I am not a spring chicken anymore. This had been a bitter pill to swallow. I always thought that I could do whatever Jim needed me to do- until- This past weekend we were moving twenty-five large poles that were at least 30 feet in length. They were stacked in a nice and tidy pile and in order to haul them we needed to cut them in half. This meant that we had to get them off the pile. Jim thought that we could man-handle them.( key word MAN- handle) This is where I explained to him that he should have married Olga the Magnificent. He sort of picked up his half and told me to pick up my half. Well, that was not going to happen - ever. Then he said that maybe we should get the tractor with the front-end loader on it. Gee, I didn’t I think about that? What a relief. Not only did it work great but it was very hot last Friday and it made quick work of it. I am not sure but think that the tractor might have saved my life.
Jim and I went to Woodward on Sunday. We noticed that the power company was doing some work on the power lines. They were replacing the wooden poles with metal poles. I have never seen them before. They are a lot taller than the ones they were replacing. I first thought that they were wooden poles covered with metal, but they are hollow inside. I find them very interesting. We discussed how the metal poles compared to the wooden poles. I have been told that the wood peckers cost the power companies an enormous amount of money each year. So the metal poles will an improvement- from our point of view- don’t think the wood peckers would agree.
We have certainly have seen changes along our roadsides. I know that my parents have seen different changes than I have. I my lifetime we always had telephone poles one side of the road and power poles on the other side. Now the telephone lines are buried along the road side. I am not sure what our electric company has in mind but if it is in our best interest to have metal poles I am sure we will get them.
Another change along the roadways is a roadside park with potties. Even though they were not too grand they were nice to have if you felt the need. Those are pretty much a thing of the past. I understand why they were removed but they did serve a purpose. When I came home from Ruidoso a while back I traveled from Ruidoso to Roswell to Portales. From about 20 miles out of Ruidoso there are NO restrooms till you get about 100 miles to a little town of Elida. It is a looonnng way to go especially if you take your time saying your good-byes and drink about a pot of coffee before you leave. I would have given a million dollars for a roadside park with facilities or a quick stop or a large tree (and I do mean a very large tree) or anything.
My kids have been giving me a hard time on aging. Anything that I do not do just right they remind me I am not getting any younger. I don’t care what my temperature is- It is never the same as anyone else. Jennifer tells me that it is to be expected. Well, it is not expected by me. Then she says, “There you go getting all emotional.” I guess I deserve it since I tease my mom about dropping food on her blouse when she eats. When Jim took me out for my birthday I somehow got my lunch all over my blouse. Jim just chuckled and said, “Welcome to 47 - this is just the beginning”. Isn’t he the sweetest thing?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell 05-30-06

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell 05-30-06
Memorial Weekend has always been extra special to our family. I have a fear that my generation will not observe the tradition of decorating the graves of our loved ones. I can remember how my dad would take us to the cemetery to put flowers on his grandparents, parents and other friends and family graves. Dad would see some of his aunts, uncles and cousins and visit with them as long as he could. I liked to go with him, but as always, there is a down side. I never could remember which direction the grave was from the headstone. We would be wondering around and all of a sudden Dad would very nearly rip my arm out of its socket and tell me in a disgusted and disappointed voice to quit walking on the graves. He had a great respect for the dead and one just never - ever walked on top of someone. Even though I am all grown up with kids of my own I still wince just a little when I go to the cemetery and walk around.
When we would get done with the flowers and remembering those who have gone on before us we would go to the Veterans Building for the Alley Family Reunion. When I was a kid we had a large crowd. But now most of Alleys are now at Crown Hill. Even though our numbers are fewer we still have a great time together. I have some cousins who live in Greensburg, just 20 miles away and about the only time I get to see them is this weekend. It is not that we do not like each other; it’s just that we all have such a busy life. The reunion is a good time to catch up on every one. We get to hear how great grandchildren are and now this year I heard all about great-grandchildren. Some of you remember Jane and Gary Trummel; they are now great-grandparents. That makes their two sons, Mark and Kent granddaddies and their daughter Teresa, a grandma. I love to hear all of Jane’s stories of her grandbabies. Jane is not the only grandmother who has great stories, her sister Edith is a proud grandma, too. John and Linda Alley are a lot of fun as well. Edna May Riggs was here for the first time in several years it was good to see her. Edna May’s daughter Rhonda brought her to the reunion along with her daughter and two grandchildren. I think that their car ride from Pampa Texas was not dull; it looked like they were having a good time and making good memories.
I missed my brother and sister’s family not making it this year, but Virgil has gone to Wyoming to visit their daughter’ family. Pamela and David are expecting their second baby just any day now. And Vickie was here a couple of weeks ago.
The wonderful thing about the Alley Reunion is that the Alleys are great cooks or they married great cooks. We never go away hungry or usually without a new recipe to try. From what I have been told our Grandma Alley was a terrific cook among other things. I have heard stories about her and how tough she was but that is another story.
I hope that you had a good Memorial weekend with your friends and family.

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell 6-06-06

Country Gal by Vanita Blundell 6-06-06
Most people have memories of their grandparents’ home. At my grandma and granddads home they had a garden water tank. The windmill pumped water into a 55 gallon barrel then into a horse tank. This was called the garden tank as they could connect a garden hose to and water would trickle out for grandmas’ garden. From the top of garden tank there was a pipe that ran about 2 foot above the ground it went into the stock tank. In the garden tank grandma had a couple of goldfish. They are the only thing that I have been able to maintain. And do I have goldfish! They are not the original fish but I think that I got some fish from Shala Unruh. If I remember correctly she had got them from her Dads horse tanks. He apparently had an over abundance of fish and they needed to thin out a few. I still have the garden tank, but no garden, and the other stock tank is still connected to the garden tank. The goldfish were in the garden tank and now the smaller fish have gone thru the pipe and into the stock tank below. Now I must thin out some fish I have several other tank that I can put them in. I just need the ‘want to’ to do it.
One summer Robert Beatty was spending quite a bit of time out at the grandparents’ farm. He is the son on Mildred Klingensmith Beatty, his grandmother was Bessie Klingensmith. He was about two years older than I was. It was terribly hot out and he decided that we needed to hop in the garden tank to cool off. Grandma said that we had to clean it out first. It took us the better part of the day but we got the worst of it. Then we jumped in the nice cold water. We thought we were pretty clever. After thinking on this for a while - We must not have cleaned the tank too good, as we had tadpoles swimming around us along with the goldfish. That was the first and last time I ever played in a tank.
When the kids were small I thought that I would be a good mother a get a little wading pool for them. I bought the water toys and told the kids how much fun they were going to have splashing around. I got the pool filled the pool with water in the morning so it would warm up by the afternoon. The kids were excited about playing in the water. They jumped in and then ‘they’ came. The wasps, yellow jackets, dragonflies and mosquitoes came in droves. They were swarming around the kids, dipping the water and just being a nuisance. Jeff hating anything with wings, this was not a good thing. They started to yell and cry and then it was over. So at our house a wading pool was not the thing to do. I see several people with the above ground pools and once in awhile you will see a horse tank in someone’s back yard. I sure hope that they have better luck than we did.
I might say that the tanks that I am talking about are metal tanks, not a hole in the ground. When I lived in Texas I heard people talk about those who had drowned in stock tank. I found this odd. Even though I have heard of children who had fallen in horse tanks and drown, but never grown adults. They were telling about a man who had met his demise in a stock tank, being curious I asked how tall he was, when I was told that the man was average height, I was confused. Then I asked if there was a reason why he could not just stand up. After a strange awkward silence I was told that a stock tank in Texas is what we call a pond. Sometimes I would look a lot more intelligent if I just kept my mouth shut.